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By HawaOuti
#21740
bubudi wrote: i find it very interesting that people want to make several divisions among maninka djembe music, yet will group susu, baga, landuma, nalu, mandinye and temne all together as 'coastal style'. examples of village coastal music are rare, so mostly we are hearing coastal music being played ballet style, which of course gets rid of many of the distinguishing characteristics.
You are right, and I don't really want to make things too difficult. But these kind of articles, or popular cd:s sometimes get to be "The truth about rhythm X" :? . That is why I thought it would be good to add more information.
bubudi wrote:so i think maybe for this article, grouping styles by ethnic group might work best. although probably mentioning all ethnic groups is probably a bit over ambitious. but at least mentioning the ethnic groups that currently have a strong djembe tradition. at the very least, maninka, susu, bamana, and then later on add more ethnic groups. that should make things easier.
I don't know if all the groups are necessary, but just to put the information somewhere with the rhythms would be important.
By bubudi
#21741
HawaOuti wrote:You are right, and I don't really want to make things too difficult. But these kind of articles, or popular cd:s sometimes get to be "The truth about rhythm X" .
yes, it's very hard to write about the rhythms and not sound like that.
HawaOuti wrote:I don't know if all the groups are necessary, but just to put the information somewhere with the rhythms would be important.
to me the info about the rhythms sounds like a separate thing altogether to the regional styles. there's so much info, and so many rhythms, that could easily be a doctorate thesis in itself ;) also, there's a fair bit of wrong or misleading information out there, which needs to be weeded out.
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By Dugafola
#21742
Afoba wrote:
because they have all changed over time.
I thought I pointed that out.
"each style" - no! If we start like that I will end up describing a north-south line somewhere between Sangbarala and Kumana/Babila where several things change and someone else will be surely be found to make differences between older and newer parts of Bamako or Bouaké. But James wants to write an article, not a doctoral dissertation after 5-10 years of research. My point was that in a categorization that can be mentioned there, all the ballet styles (and Burkina is mostly ballet style - and something between ballet and westafrican pop music - of course the Burkina way) are more or less one. The have had two main developping points, Paris and Conakry (I have already mentioned the particular local influences from other than djembe music in my last post). Talking about "the Burkina style" and "the guinean style" makes no sense, because there are many different styles in Guinea, that have developped over many many years (and that James and Bubudi forgot in their postings). And the "Burkina style" is just a derivation of one special and quite new djembe performance style from Guinea. It's a bit like comparing english dialects in Great Britain and Germany, you know, what I mean?

Greetings, Daniel
i agree with you, but still feel it's worth discussing and mentioning for a complete article.

james, you just need to get a PhD in ethnomusicology so you can write this article properly.
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By e2c
#21748
Interesting discussion... I guess my take is the following:

1. What is the purpose of the article - is it meant to be readable, basic info. for new folks (and others who just want some info. about djembe playing), or is it meant to be a scholarly catalogue of all of the genres and subgenres and regional style and...?

2. My guess is that it's meant to be an easily readable intro., so... I think (as is true for a lot of writing about music) there will have to be some "oversimplification" in order to convey the basic points.

As for the rest, hey, you guys should work on a detailed FAQ! I'm all for that, but I think it would work better if handled separately from the article James is working on now.

The *last* thing I'd want to do (if it was me writing it) would be to confuse newcomers, and the in-depth discussions that a lot of you are getting into here definitely *are* confusing to those who have not spent serious time (years!) studying.

Hope that makes sense! :)

also... this site comes up very, very high in Google's rankings for searches on djembe, so if it was up to me, I would want to make sure that the info. in question is presented in a clear and readable style. People will quit reading if it's otherwise - and for those who want more in-depth info., there can always be a link to a more detailed piece.
#21749
2. My guess is that it's meant to be an easily readable intro., so... I think (as is true for a lot of writing about music) there will have to be some "oversimplification" in order to convey the basic points.

As for the rest, hey, you guys should work on a detailed FAQ! I'm all for that, but I think it would work better if handled separately from the article James is working on now.
exactly! Now my point second was that seperating Burkina from Mali and Guinea (and only thinking of ballet style in all cases accept maybe Mali d;-) ) would be no simplification, but simply wrong.

A realistic concept could be:
-Susu style
-Maninka style (with two or three dunduns)
-Bamana style (or just "Bamako style with Kassonka influences", because this is the best known)
-ballet style
end!

there's a lot of things that aren't mentioned then (Baga, Ivory Cost etc.), Conakry Maninka music is in the same group un Upper Guinean Maninka music, mixtures are not well explained and so on. But it's a start that makes sense, and a little text in the beginning or in the end could give an idea of how many different/other styles there are: from differences from village to village (have you noticed that they play soli for the Wölöba masks in Sangbarala in the new video series on youtube? - look for "sangbarala #4") to the only Adama Dramé tapping or Cajon playing and the acc. function of the djembé in modern Conakry, Bamako and Bouaké pop groups.

have a nice evening
Daniel
By bubudi
#21753
bubudi wrote:mentioning all ethnic groups is probably a bit over ambitious. but at least mentioning the ethnic groups that currently have a strong djembe tradition. at the very least, maninka, susu, bamana, and then later on add more ethnic groups. that should make things easier.
Afoba wrote:A realistic concept could be:
-Susu style
-Maninka style (with two or three dunduns)
-Bamana style (or just "Bamako style with Kassonka influences", because this is the best known)
-ballet style
end!
well, we said the exact same thing... however, i think it might be worthwhile adding on other ethnic groups as a part 2 to the article. the goal doesn't have to cover all styles in detail, that would be an information overload and too much research. also, how do you go about learning forest style?

i think when it comes to truly learning this music (through teachers), it's going to be mainly the three styles above that people will learn. how many people will actually choose to live and study in a village? there is definitely some interest, but let's face it, most people go to the capital cities. and of the villages that people may choose to visit, it's the ones with established courses that people are likely to visit, such as famoudou's, or mansa camio's, or sidiki camara's. still, it is good to make people aware that there are many more styles than what you generally see in the capital cities.
By bubudi
#21754
e2c, i agree about keeping it simple. i think one thing this discussion has done is shown that you can go quite detailed, and keep going deeper and deeper, but it would never lead to anything remotely near a full understanding. so that is good, at least we are clear on needing to stick with the few main styles.

what do you think about mentioning some of the other styles in a part 2? (again not going into too much detail). for instance, wassolon style, ivory coast forest styles (gouro, bete, etc), forest styles from guinea/liberia/sierra leone, coastal guinean styles, soninke style, burkina and ivory coast ballet styles. i think it would be nice to be able to point to some recordings where these styles are presented (even if in a somewhat modernised/ballet version). you could even provide a little more info on some of the styles like wassolon, hamana/gberedou that are better known and more accessible from a westerner's point of view.
By Daniel Preissler
#21755
bubudi wrote:
bubudi wrote:mentioning all ethnic groups is probably a bit over ambitious. but at least mentioning the ethnic groups that currently have a strong djembe tradition. at the very least, maninka, susu, bamana, and then later on add more ethnic groups. that should make things easier.
Afoba wrote:A realistic concept could be:
-Susu style
-Maninka style (with two or three dunduns)
-Bamana style (or just "Bamako style with Kassonka influences", because this is the best known)
-ballet style
end!
well, we said the exact same thing...
I thought of your post, too, when writing mine, Bubudi (that's why I added Bamana d;-) ). I didn't quote it directly, because it wasn't on the actual page anymore.
What you did not do (and what I see as the most important point) is to seperate the ballet style from the rest and to see it as "one style" (in a categorization with about 5 points, not in one with 20 or 50!)

One more thing, Bubudi (not for your article, James): who plays djembé in the forest region? it's only some Forest Maninka who might do this, I think - and even some of them have got other fête instruments, it seems (my informations are quite rare concerning this point) .

Greetings, d
By bubudi
#21758
i will admit i need to learn a lot more about forest music, too. i know through recordings, articles and information from at least one teacher from the ivory coast that some tribal groups in the forest areas do use djembes (called by various names), and planibalas (also known by other names). not all, however.
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By e2c
#21761
Honestly, I think 2 separate articles - or an article and a list-type thing (FAQ, whatever) would work better.

there's so very much detail one can go into, and I think all of that deserves to be dealt with separately. It can be linked to in the intro. article, after all.

But the two things serve different purposes, really.
By bubudi
#21769
e2c, what do you mean by 'list-type thing' ? for the styles? or for the rhythms? i think that the rhythms would have to be a whole separate article/series, and is quite ambitious in itself. i think just a generalised description of the 3 major styles is enough for the first article. a follow up for some of the other styles would be in order, possibly with a third after that. i've seen some lists info on rhythms, and was concerned by the information i read. i've been compiling information on rhythms for a very long time now and am still not really happy with some of the entries i've made.
By bubudi
#21784
e2c wrote:the geographical breakdowns (etc.) that you folks are talking about are more than enough to be made into an appendix in a book.
not if it's just the three main styles (malinke, susu, bamana). with a second or possibly third article, the styles should be differentiated under some kind of logical division.
By bubudi
#21785
also, daniel, most ethnic groups in west africa that have been playing djembe for a long time either have mande ancestry (e.g. mende, wasolonke) or live in close proximity to mande groups (bamana, minianka). the mande related forest groups include: konianke, maoka, dan (yacouba), kono, kpelle (guerze), toma (loma), kono, mano and vai.

i have a question for you - what about the jula (dyoula) and kuranko? it can't be right to say that all mande groups are malinke, even during the time of the mande empire... all i know about the jula is that they were traders. according to information i've read, the kuranko maintain a separate ethnicity and practice the traditional religion more closely.